Monday, June 5, 2017

Several states moving to expand age kids must be in school - ABC News

Several states moving to expand age kids must be in school - ABC News:

Several states moving to expand age kids must be in school


A dozen states are trying to keep children in school longer, from making kindergarten mandatory to raising the legal drop-out age. But it's not an easy sell.
Nevada is among the states this year that have or are considering proposals to stretch the compulsory attendance age. A bill that would require children in Nevada to start school at age 5 was met with such resistance that it was amended to age 6. Current state law sets the age at 7. The proposal is likely to go nowhere, as the Nevada legislature is set to adjourn Monday.
"If you're really concerned about kids dropping out, I don't think making kindergarten mandatory is really the heart of the issue," said Maggie England, who opposes the Nevada bill and wants to homeschool her three children.
Supporters admit that it wouldn't have much of an impact on enrollment numbers — and therefore school budgets. State officials estimate that about 95 percent of 6-year-olds are already learning in a formal capacity. What's to be gained, then, said Nevada Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, is the message that the state sometimes mocked as the "Mississippi of the West" is taking seriously its mission to turn things around in its glaringly deficient schools.
"I believe every child deserves a fair and equal shot at the American dream and that starts with school," said Diaz, the bill sponsor who is also a Las Vegas-area teacher. "I just think it's going to be a philosophical argument and we're just going to have to agree to disagree. As a teacher, and as an assemblywoman who represents a very at-risk population, this is fundamental."
The conversation among advocates is often tinged with this kind of anxiety about economic disparity. Their debate is centered as a moral imperative, extolling research on the importance of access to education, particularly for poor and disadvantaged children. Lately, education access has also seen a heightened, urgent interest on the national stage, ranging from college tuition to daycare and pre-kindergarten. The compulsory school age issue gained peak momentum when then-President Barack Obama in his 2012 State of the Union address urged states to raise the dropout age to 18.
In the past decade, both Republican and Democrat lawmakers have pushed for changes that would stretch the compulsory school attendance age, in some states requiring children to be in the classroom for as many as 13 years, from age 5 to 18. This year alone, at least six bills were proposed in Mississippi to expand the years that children must be in school. All of them have failed.
Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Montana, Mississippi and North Carolina also have considered the issue this year.
Nearly all states require free education to be offered by age 5, though in half the country, Several states moving to expand age kids must be in school - ABC News:

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